The Passing of the Eye

     The hero paused outside the cave, listening to an odd sound that echoed from within.  It was a loud, high cackling.  He could scarcely make it out.

         Pass the eye, pass the eye, 
         One, two, let it by.

      It didn't make any sense, but then he was on a quest and sense was hardly ever part of that. 
      He smiled his hero smile, drew his hero sword - the one with the witch - bane silver handle - and went in. 
      The cave was very smoky and he knew smoke was bad for his health.  He   wondered if there was a section of the cave reserved for nonsmokers.  A dark,
peaty aroma rose up from the fire.  Peering through the haze, he was finally able to make out the figures of three alien creatures hunched over a pot, passing
something around. 
      He knew just what to do. It was in all the quest brochures. Stepping forward, he grabbed the token they were passing with his left hand, the one    without the sword.
      "You must give me what I want," he said.  "And then I shall return this to
 you."  The brochures all said that a true hero was decisive and stuck by his
decisions, right or wrong.  But then he noticed that the aliens weren't alien at all,
but were women. 
       I beg your pardon, gentle persons," he said, for it was a time of special       courtesy and favors toward women. 
       "That for your pardon!" shouted one of the women. "Give it back." 
       Then the hero noticed they were old women.  One of them even had a
smattering of white whiskers on her chin. "I truly beg your pardon, gentle
persons of great life span." For it was also a time of special courtesy and favors
toward the elderly. 
        "Back now!" said the second old woman, waving her arms about.
        It was then that he noticed that the three of them were unsighted.  He was
appalled at his own lack of awareness.  "I beg your pardon indeed, visually
challenged gentle persons of great life span."
        "Give us back the eye!" the third one bellowed.
        Only then did he see that the token in his hand was, truly, an eye. It
winked up at him with an especially knowing look, as if heroes were as common as dirt in that cave.  He handed the eye back at once. 
        The first old woman grabbed it.  "I'll give you visually challenged, you
hiccup!" she said.  "Without that eye we're blind as bats.  She shared the eye
around with her sisters, who each stared at the hero in turn.
        Then they chopped him up for kindling.  And he never got to finish his
journey, killing princesses, marrying dragons, or whatever politically correct
thing is done on quests these days. 
        Just as well.

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